How to seek professional help for depression
Depression can feel very lonely, but talking about it can help. Here's how to seek professional help for depression
Counselling and psychotherapy can help people to understand the factors that may underlie anxiety and depression. Working with a therapist can enable you to develop coping strategies and ways of interpreting feelings to make them more bearable.
If you’re feeling depressed, you’re not alone. Here’s how to seek professional care to help you cope.
Talk to your doctor
Your doctor will be able to advise you on the various options for talking therapy for a range of mental health problems including anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, available in groups or one-to-one sessions. Painful experiences can be hard to talk about, but professionals understand this. Be as open as you can so that you can receive the best help
Try going for counselling
Counselling may be available via your GP. Short-term counselling consists of 6 to 12 hour-long, one-to-one sessions. The counsellor will listen and, depending on the type of counselling, may ask questions. The counsellor won’t provide answers but will encourage you to find your own solutions.
"The counsellor won’t provide answers but will encourage you to find your own solutions"
It may be appropriate to continue with longer term counselling. This therapy may be suitable for mild anxiety and depression and can help you cope with problems such as anger, relationship issues, bereavement, panic attacks, generalised anxiety disorder and social phobia.
CBT can help you manage your depression
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) works by helping you to identify unhelpful and unrealistic thoughts and shows you how these can lead to problematic emotional and behavioural patterns. Once identified, you can learn to replace unhelpful thoughts with more realistic and balanced ones. This can help you react more positively to situations that may cause anxiety and depression.
Treatment usually involves a 1-to-2-hour session, once a week. It is available on the NHS for people with depression, anxiety and some other mental health problems. CBT may be delivered as individual or group therapy.
Psychotherapy could also be something to consider to help you cope with depression. Psychotherapy looks into past experiences to find their relevance to present difficulties.
"Psychotherapy looks into past experiences to find their relevance to present difficulties"
There are many different forms of psychotherapy. They include interpersonal therapy, which focuses on relationship and communication problems; family therapy, in which the therapist works with the whole family, and couples therapy, which involves both partners.
Ask your doctor questions
Ask your GP if the practice provides any mental health services directly. If not, ask to be referred to a therapist. You could also look at registers of practitioners at your local library or on the internet. Being on a register does not ensure quality, but it does mean that if you have a problem, you can take the matter up with the organisation.
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) provides a list of registered therapists (www.bacp.co.uk). And if you know someone who has seen a therapist, ask for a recommendation.
Banner credit: Talking to a doctor (SeventyFour)
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